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jlmran 01-21-2013 07:44 PM

Tub in our newly acquired house drains slowly. I removed the overflow plate and to my surprise, the linkage and plunger were not there.

Could the linkage have broken and allowed the plunger to fall and partially block the drain?

Should I snake it? Take the drain assembly apart? Call a plumber? Thanks.

joecaption 01-21-2013 07:59 PM

Happens all the time on those old stoppers.

Do you have any access behind the wall or under the tub?

ben's plumbing 01-21-2013 08:04 PM

yep it happens alot ..plunger falls off......get something with a small hook fish it down and turn it alittle to see if you can grab it ....bend a old coathanger.,.. may work ..ben sr

DannyT 01-21-2013 08:43 PM

does the overflow plate have a lever? do you have a lift and spin stopper inthe drain? usually if the plunger falls off the tub doesn't drain at all.

jlmran 01-21-2013 08:45 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Tried coat hanger with no luck. I cut a hole in the wall and started the drain disassembly process but man it's a tight fit. Tub basket is stuck pretty good. So I guess I'm at the point of total removal to see what is revealed. I just hope I can get the new basket and associated drain line installed, without having to demolish anymore. Photos attached.

Attachment 64158

Attachment 64159

joecaption 01-21-2013 09:10 PM

All you should have to do is loosen up that big nut on the tube and lift the whole thing out so you can get to the stopper.
Should be no need to remove anything under the tub or the tee.

Also you should have removed the baseboard first, make your cuts out to the sides of the closest studs and use a level or square to straighten up that top cut.
Attach 2, pieces of 2 X 4 to the sides of the studs so there's some place to reattach the sheetrock.
Stuff the hole though the floor with some fiber glass insulation.

jlmran 01-21-2013 09:25 PM

Picture doesn't tell all. The baseboard runs behind washer/dryer immediately to the left. That is low priority for now. And, that's not floor beneath the tub, that's earth.

I agree that a simple lift of the vertical tube out of the Tee is the way to go...but the drain pipes are so stinkin' tough to move that I couldn't flex the top (overflow) away from the tub enough to allow the tube to lift out. Couldnt even get the gasket out. The only solution I've concluded is to loosen the Tee connections going to the basket and see if that frees it up some. The bottom of the tee goes directly down into the ground.

plumberinlaw 01-22-2013 08:50 AM

the first thing I would try after removing the overflow plate is to snake the drain. probably only have to go ten feet.

oh'mike 01-22-2013 11:06 AM

Go back to trying to fish that out through the overflow---

AllanJ 01-22-2013 01:32 PM

The stopper will remain at the level of the horizontal pipe from the tub drain if the chain broke.

If you could poke your coat hanger through the tub overflow opening and further down than that, then there was no stopper and the slow drain is due to something else.

Were you able to undo the hex ring nut halfway down the vertical overflow pipe?

jlmran 01-22-2013 08:43 PM

Bought a 20' X 1/4" snake. Early in the process I was able to remove a decent handful of the blackest, greasiest hair ball I've ever seen. Only about 2 feet into the drain.

Ran some hot water...nothing changed. Slow drain.

Snaked again...and again... And again. Third time I was able to get ~18 feet of snake through the system. Pulled it back out and nothing snagged. Water still drains slowly.

Snake never pulled the plunger out and I can't hear it rattling so I guess it's not in there. However, the snake always snags on something about a foot down from the overflow. Maybe over time the plunger has integrated itself into the drain pipe? And maybe the linkage has deteriorated so I can't hear it?? I won't know unless I get the tee removed. Sure hate to tackle that.

Any thoughts?

jlmran 01-22-2013 08:46 PM


Originally Posted by AllanJ
Were you able to undo the hex ring nut halfway down the vertical overflow pipe?

UPDATE: was able to break the overflow pipe free from the tub (stuck gasket). But the pipe is too long to lift out of the tee...hits the upper flange of the tub before it clears the tee. For reasons unknown to me, I am really suspicious of the old plunger, so I considered cutting/replacing the overflow pipe, but I'm not sure if I could slide a new one into the tee, due to the same length issue.

oh'mike 01-22-2013 09:40 PM

A plastic one might have enough give to get the tub back together---possible a rubber boot (fernco) could be found to fit that thin wall tubing----

jlmran 01-22-2013 09:55 PM

Ok now I'm not so suspicious of the old plunger. While contemplating my next move and looking at the drain pipes, I noticed that the waste pipe coming from the basket appears to be sloped. It looks slightly higher at the tee versus at the basket. This might explain why the tub appears to drain more quickly when full, and more slowly as it empties?? I'll have to verify that somehow.

The tub rests on a slab and has always drained slowly since we bought the house. Maybe it's drained slowly since the house was built (1983)? Maybe the ground/house has moved in this horrible drought and pushed the drain line up??

Plumbing troubleshooting sucks.

jlmran 01-22-2013 10:58 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Always go with your first instinct. It was the correct one. Problem solved. But I busted my knuckle getting it out. Plumbing sucks.

Attachment 64235

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